It can be heartbreaking for many people to get a call from the company they applied for only to be told to try again next time. Interviewers and employers have been working with candidates of varying profiles for years – that’s what makes them professionals at what they do. HR people are used to analyzing and deciding on whether a candidate is fit for the role in a matter of minutes, sometimes even seconds. If they are so confident about their abilities, what exactly are they looking for in resumes that arrive at their doorstep?

Most recent employment

While the entire professional background is relevant to a job application, interviewers are far more interested in the latest job employment. This is the freshest experience a candidate has gone through, and it’s the one that made them apply for this position in the first place.

Why did they leave and how much did they really learn while employed there? These are often critical questions that differentiate candidates from potential employees, and it’s one of the things that you should pay the most attention to when writing your resume.

Job-related keywords

Believe it or not, most cover letters don’t end up read properly. Interviewers simply don’t have the time to read every single application thoroughly and take their time in doing so. This means that they are carefully searching for keywords that make them go “aha” when considering a candidate.

These range from niche to niche, and can often determine if a candidate knows what they are talking about. Those that have experience and knowledge will likely be given a pass and further consideration, so using area-specific keywords that make sense in your niche is essential.

Soft skills

Modern enterprises and corporate ventures are looking for more than the just good professional background. The internal culture and productivity of a company are determined by the amount of teamwork and leadership that resides within. Interviewers are far more likely to consider a candidate that excels at teamwork, team building, and leadership and stress management roles than someone with the strict professional background.

Being a team player is far more important than just being good at your job because it will mean that you are ready to lead projects and make difficult decisions. Soft skills are a huge part of what makes a resume attractive these days, so take extra time to write down whatever you think you are good at when it comes to interpersonal relations.

Proper formatting

It goes without saying that your resume should look the part. Resumes that are poorly written lack any sense of formatting and order and are just full of grammar and proofreading errors won’t even be considered. People who don’t know how to write a proper correspondence don’t have any place in a modern corporate world, and interviewers will likely never contact them.

If you are too stressed out or unsure about how to format your resume, you can take a look at a list of the top writing services that can help you out. This is an essential part of creating your resume and you should pay extra attention not to make any errors in writing or editing.

Professional experience

Your overall professional experience might not be high on the interviewer’s list of priorities but it ranks fairly high. You should add any and all professional experiences you have had in your life, regardless of whether you deem them job-related or not.

Your interviewer will appreciate the attention to details in listing everything you have ever done for a living. The culmination of all of your past job experiences may just be what the company is looking for, so think carefully about all the things you did and format those experiences from the most recent to the oldest one.

Personal motivation

What usually makes or breaks a resume is the personal motivation of a candidate. This is where the interviewer catches a glimpse into what kind of a person they are dealing with. The resume gives your interviewer only a fraction of who you are behind all the listed information, but it’s usually enough to make them decide if you are good for the company or not.

Employers usually steer clear of egoistic and overly ambitious people and opt for more grounded and realistic personalities that can fit into their internal culture. The best course of action is to be completely honest and write about your motivation succinctly and truthfully instead of sugarcoating it in order to land a position in a company that clearly isn’t for you.

Overall tone and structure

It’s true that it usually takes employers only seconds before deciding if a candidate is good for them or not. The overall tone and structure of your resume will be determined by the combination of previous information you have listed.

Try giving the resume to your friend or a family member and ask for a second opinion on whether it’s too much or too little. It’s not too late to add or rewrite your resume until the very moment you submit it. Even then, if the interviewer sees something that they like you, they will likely give you a call and arrange an interview.


People like to say that writing a resume takes a lifetime, and that’s completely true. While you may not be able to choose your first employments, you can use these experiences later on when you hunt for a job that truly matters. HR works differently in every single company, and catering to their way of thinking is the secret of landing a job that you really want.